GRADE : A-
Over the past year or so while attending various comic cons on the eastern coast, I have repeatedly run into writers Mike Isenberg and Oliver Mertz with booths at the Cons. They’re always dressed in crazy mad scientist outfits and their table looks like a lab filled with comics. I give them points for trying to stand out in that crowd of superheroes. The two writers along with artist Daniel Lapham have created a self published comic series called First Law of Mad Science. It’s a daring sci-fi-fantasy-horror series that boldly goes in directions most comic stories don’t tread.
The two writers have interwoven various storylines into this series that at first glance might not have a connection to each other, but seem to do anyhow. It’s all set on the backdrop of a futuristic world where almost everyone has “Cyber Eyes.” The creator of the artificial eyes is Dr. George Baker. It’s the newest sensation that has changed society completely. However, certain malfunctions start to arise from the early test subjects of the eyes. Baker’s own son, Hank, has started to see things. They happen to be little slug creatures that only he can see. How or why this is happening we don’t really know. Then there’s Baker’s artificially created robotic daughter R.A.I.Ch.E.L. She happens to be my favorite character in the book. She’s foul mouthed and funny. There’s also intersecting storylines involving an ancient archaeological dig in the Antarctic, which has echoes of Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness.” Scientists uncover an ancient city and a large monster hidden within. Then there’s an interesting story about a secret genetic project creating a colony of humanoid pig people. Like I said, this is far out sci-fi stuff. I’d say it’s on par with some of the crazier Grant Morrison comics I’ve read over the years.
Daniel Lapham’s art is fantastic. He displays a perfectly rich stylish tone to the storyline. The future world he created feels realistic and not too over the top. The gray tone look of the book gives the story an old school Outer Limits feeling to the book. When the story takes on horror overtones, the tension is hit to high with the way Lapham sets the scenes. He has a real eye for storytelling in his art.
I’ve only read three issues into this series and I’m still a bit lost as to what’s going on. All of these ideas and multiple narratives are intriguing and keep you wanting to find out more. These writers know how to dangle a carrot in front of you and take it away. Just as you start to get invested in a certain story they go off on another tale. It can be a bit frustrating but also enticing at the same time. These gentlemen are self publishing this book so it’ll take longer for them to get all the issues out and with 12 issues planned out that’s one hell of a wait. See if you can seek these out. If you see them at a Comic con, give them your money. Like the comic they’re writing, they’re mad scientists.
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Buy copies of their book on their site http://firstlawofmadscience.com/